Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pining for the fjords 

My husband and I realized the other day, while watching a Monty Python episode from 1969, that we have spent our adult lives using Monty Pyton lines as our commentary on the passing scene -- "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" and "Steals from the poor and gives to the rich, stupid bitch, dum dum dum, dum dum dum" and "How to defend yourself when being attacked with a banana" and "I didn't come here for an argument. Yes, you did." and "a delightful mint-flavoured burgundy", not to mention "Someday, son, all this will be yours. Wot, the curtains?"
So the line that illustrates the newest report of Osama's demise is "He's pining. Pining for the fjords!"
Glenn Greenwald notes that Osama bin Laden "has died more times than any human being in history" and, surprisingly, it often seems to happen just when things are looking a little dark for the Boy Wonder.
Here is Greenwald's list:
Jan. 19, 2002 "Pakistan's president says he thinks Osama bin Laden is most likely dead because the suspected terrorist has been unable to get treatment for his kidney disease"
July 7, 2002 "FBI counterterrorism chief Dale Watson said Wednesday he believes Osama bin Laden is dead "
Oct. 16, 2002 "Osama Bin Laden appears to be dead but his colleagues have decided that Al Qaida and its insurgency campaign against the United States will continue, Israeli intelligence sources said". . .
April 30, 2005 "A new Islamist website is reporting that bin Laden is dead"
Oct. 24, 2005 "The Pakistani newspaper 'Ausaf' which is based in the city of Multan in the Punjab Province is reporting that Osama bin Laden died last June in a village near Kandahar in Afghanistan"
Jan. 9, 2006 "according to Iranians I trust, Osama bin Laden finally departed this world in mid-December."
Sept. 23, 2006 "Saudi intelligence services have determined that terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in August . . . the report comes from an actual secret document. . . "
Then, of course, Bin Laden pops up with another video or audio tape -- just in time for another American election.
Greenwald writes:
Most of our "counter-terrorism" efforts have been like this -- like a Three Stooges routine. The reality is that we have no idea whether bin Laden is dead . . . stumbling around in the dark, dealing only with baseless, fact-free insinuations, and ignoring him (by necessity) except to grasp desperately for him when some domestic political gain can be squeezed out of him. In the hands of Bush followers, terrorism and Al Qaeda are big toys, things to be tossed around aimlessly for fun and diversion . . .

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